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I have to say that within the past two years I've hard both positive and negative comments on the film adaptation of the book "An Unfinished Life". I for one was extremely interested upon hearing that a movie was being done with Jennifer Lynn Lopez, Robert Redford, and the brilliant Morgan Freeman. This cast for years have entertained me through splendid movies such as Selena, Out of Sight, The Way We Were, and Million Dollar Baby. Although very aware of the skepticiscm of having La Lopez in a film with Oscar performing co-stars, would prove to show ones stubbornness. Lopez gives a knockout performance and I would challenge anyone who says she was miscast for this role. Isn't it the job of the actor to travel outside of their character, and convey the feelings of another. I don't think much is needed to be said about Redford's and Morgan's heartbreaking performances. Lasse Halstrom has outdone himself again, he has brought justice to the splendid novel by Mark Spragg. I trust all of you will give this Oscar worthy movie a shot, before you draw any of your conclusions. 'An Unfinished Life' reminds me of an old family western, filled with heart and emotion. This coming from a guy whose never in his life has been quite so fond of the wild west.
An Unfinished Life may be the sweetest movie you'll see this year, and
certainly the most beautiful. Take yourself to the theater, then look
forward to the DVD.
We are treated to watch Robert Redford play a perfect curmudgeon, crusty, craggy, a rancher named Einar Gilkyson, in his 60's who has a lot to do every day. His first duty is to take care of his best friend and long time cowboy buddy, Mitch Bradley, played by Morgan Freeman. Then he gets to milk the cows. Their friendship carries the film through the ups and downs of life, with Mitch as the guiding light to Einar's disgruntled reality.
Unable to pull her own life together, Einar's daughter-in-law arrives with Einar's granddaugther in tow, needing a temporary place to stay. Jennifer Lopez plays Jean, and her daughter, Giff, is well played by Becca Gardner. The daughter-in-law is immediately rejected by Einar, still feeling the loss of his son and blaming her for it. They stay any way, and the story develops their lives as the four of them work out their differences while living on the ranch in a stunningly beautiful valley. Josh Lucas plays the local sheriff, a handsome man that reminds one of the younger Robert Redford. He gives spark to Lopezs character while being a complete gentleman.
An Unfinished Life brings a man and a bear together to acknowledge each others strengths, and brings an unhappy, bitter man to realize that he still has an amazing family right in front of him. Appreciation and forgiveness, along with some adversity, show us that unity is still possible even given previous misunderstandings and alienation's.
Every one in the film does a good job, and you feel like you have just visited the ranch and had dinner with these characters, and you want to go back for breakfast. The relationships in this film are realistic and intelligent, not sappy nor Hollywood glossy.
This is a wonderful film and it is a great delight to watch Redford, Freeman, Lopez, Lucas and Gardner play their parts in such gorgeous scenery. There is plenty of humor in the film, and an honest look at how we work out our emotional dilemmas and hang ups and eventually bring out the best in ourselves, often by being around someone else's best.
You will feel bested yourself, for watching this fine film. Compliments especially to Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman, a dynamic duo. They are a perfect compliment to each other, and their maturity is a great bonus to the film.
Some films are able to capture subtleties in a pretty straightforward
manner, and this is one of them. With the very capable support of
Morgan Freeman, a quite good Jennifer Lopez, and masterful work by
Robert Redford, we're treated to a special film, a study of family
relationships where things don't appear contrived or staged.
People carry grudges and live with demons for many years; some are unable to even get rid of them. That's the case of Redford's character. Without a way to release himself, he has managed to create a pretty miserable existence for himself. The only redeeming moment arising from the relationship with his best friend.
Things are bound to change with the arrival of his daughter-in-law and the granddaughter he never knew existed. The drama unfolds quite nicely and our hearts are touched along the way. It's a quiet movie, full of lovely vistas and some intense drama. It doesn't pack the punch of "Million Dollar Baby", a film which it's bound to recall because of the Freeman's character dynamics. Give yourself a treat and enjoy Redford in the comeback film of his career.
I saw a preview of this movie last night. I have been an admirer of
both Redford and Freeman for years. They are a marvelous team. I was
moved by their banter and by the the caring relationship that is a
result of forty years of friendship. Both give Oscar-worthy
performances. Jennifer Lopez was surprisingly good as the victim of
domestic abuse. The little girl who played her daughter was also
As my sister and I left the theater, a woman with a clipboard was asking for comments. We both said, "It was great." She answered, "That's what everybody is saying. They liked the story and the actors."
Don't miss this movie! We need more movies that focus on people, not explosions, special effects and gore.
Robert Redford, Morgan Freeman, and eye candy, J. Lo., along with a
delightful young new comer Becca Gardener and a believable story, and
you have an honest to goodness story of real people dealing with real
Many will see it as a soap opera.
As you look back at the projects Redford has been involved with, you see continuity. He likes to look into the lives of "ordinary people" living simple normal lives. No cheap tricks here. Just an honest story.
Jean Gilkyson, (J. Lo) the young, widowed and down and out of luck daughter-in-law of Einar Gilkyson (Redford) is a battered woman in Iowa. She and her 11 year old daughter Griff escape her abusive boy friend (Lewis) from Iowa and manage to reach the dumpy Wyoming ranch of her once father-in-law. No love is lost between the two as he blames her for the untimely death of his son. (No Spoilers here!) Predictably, there is conflict and drama between the two. Add in the wonderful supporting act of Morgan Freeman as the ailing ranch hand living in a nearby cabin, a bit of romance between J. Lo. and the local sheriff, the appearance, disappearance and reappearance of the abusive boyfriend from Iowa along with the absolutely delightful performance of Becca Gardner whose eyes will mesmerize you and, "Bart the Bear" and you have well spent time and money.
This is a well done movie and I do believe if more people would go see it they would agree. Its a great family relationship movie and Redford as usual is great he can underplay his role and get more out of it than some actors and his relationship with Morgan Freeman is so typical of two old guys tolerating each other. The young girl however steals the movie from her adult counterparts and brings a warmth to her part not seen that often anymore. Jennifer Lopez is good but she is outshone by the others who slowly build up a good family togetherness. Of course then there is a bear thrown into the middle and "Bart" of course is good as he has been in other movies he has been in.
In order to escape from the abusive boy-friend Gary Winston (Damian
Lewis), Jean Gilkyson (Jennifer Lopez) moves with her young daughter
Griff Gilkyson (Becca Gardner) without previous notice to the ranch of
her father-in-law Einar Gilkyson (Robert Redford) in Wyoming. Jean and
Einar are disaffected, since he blames her for the death of his beloved
son in a car accident. Einar is taking care of his friend Mitch Bradley
(Morgan Freeman), who was attacked and seriously wounded by a bear, and
he does not know that he has a grand-daughter. While Mitch heals his
wounds and forgives the bear, Einar also changes his feelings regarding
Jean, finally understanding that accidents happen and accepting her and
loving his grand-daughter.
"An Unfinished Life" is a beautiful tale of forgiveness, with the lead characters healing their wounds Mitch, the ones provoked by a savage bear, and Einar his innermost feelings of loss. The cast has amazing performances, showing the importance of a director of the weight of Lasse Halltröm: Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman are unanimity, but I myself like a lot the versatile Jennifer Lopez and strongly believe that even the viewer that dislike her as actress must admit her excellent performance in this touching film. Josh Lucas is a great support actor and the favorable surprise is the performance of the young and unknown Becca Gardner. Although being a predictable story without any twist, this sensitive movie is highly recommended. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "Um Lugar para Recomeçar" ("A Place to Restart")
I thought this was Redford's best acting by far. He keeps getting more
talented with age. He is my favorite actor. However, he seemed a little
wooden and unemotional in some of his past roles i.e. Out of Africa
(even though this is one of my favorite Redford movies. The hair
washing scene is so sexy!). I was just so impressed with his portrayal
of an angry and bitter man. He had a depth to his character that I've
never seen him convey before. If you're a Redford fan, you will truly
enjoy this gorgeous and thought provoking movie. I wish Redford would
win a Best Actor Oscar before he retires.
Also, I think Morgan Freeman brings out the best in his fellow actors. He & Redford have excellent chemistry. Morgan is amazing. He has such a classy and soulful spirit.
Everyone is perfectly cast in the movie. The little girl nearly steals the show from the seasoned actors. It's a must see. I'm looking forward to owning this movie.
As I write this review, I think of why I actually decided to see this movie. I came to the realization that it was to see Robert Redford, and Morgan Freeman - two top-notch, class actors. That said, along with the fact that I'm not a very big fan of Jennifer Lopez's, I thought the presence of Redford, and Freeman would be enough to enjoy this movie. I was wrong, not that either Redford, or Freeman's performances were nothing less than excellent, but the job done by Becca Gardner was especially wonderful. In fact, in my opinion, she stole the show. Gardner's portrayal of the Griff Gilkyson character was a special one indeed. And yes I must admit, I even enjoyed Jennifer Lopez in this movie. All in all, a very solid movie that I enjoyed so much. And the best part, it was NOT a remake.. thankfully !!
This is the third film from the director that I saw after Chocolat n
Cider Ho...I would not call this one a great piece of storytelling but
I speak entirely for myself when I say, the characters do not let you
go, while you watch this movie. And that is something. Each character
and player when he/she is on screen is telling you so many things at a
time that you get completely engrossed in their story.
Jennifer Lopez plays a single mother running away from her abusive(typical) boy friend Damian Lewis and has no where to go but to her Father-in-law who hates her. Father-in-law is of course Robert Redford who is not looking forward to anything in life, and his only real purpose in living seems to be to take care of his wounded friend Morgan Freeman. There is Bear which wounded Freeman and is the terror element in the otherwise peaceful Wyoming (smashing locales) town and there is Josh Lucas the love interest/sheriff for Jenny's Cinderella. There is débutant Becca Gardner the even-tempered daughter of Jenny's. Camrein Maynheim (The Practice) has a supporting role. And there I finish the list of principal characters in the movie.
Now why I am taking pains to mention each one of them is because they are who make this movie watchable. Especially Freeman,Gardner and Redford (in that order). Not that others do a bad job. But these three provide all the entertainment. None of the characters are living in what we would call normal circumstances in any way. At the same time there is nothing new about the story they are telling. It is just the way they go about telling it. Unhurriedly, through gestures and expressions, breathing life into these stereotypes. There is redemption for everyone involved and that is expected. But the story manages to teach you something, and not in a very persuasive manner. That is the redeeming feature of the movie and may be that is the flaw. It will fail to influence too many, some might even find it boring. But I guess that is Okay because for the few viewers who like an optimistic story told with compassionate characters played by expert actors, this one is worth watching.
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